Online Retailing: Britain and Europe 2012

Source: Centre for Retail Search

UNITED KINGDOM | E-commerce is one of the fastest growing markets in Europe. The statistics are problematic as state statistical research organisations tend to underestimate the size of the sector. Based on CRR research commissioned by Kelkoo, 2011 online sales in the UK were £50.34 billion (€59.4 billion) or 12.0% of UK retail trade. In 2008, online was equivalent to only 8.6% of retail sales.


Europe Online Retail Sales 2011

For Europe (including UK), the total market was worth £169,880 million (€200.52 bn) in 2011 (up from £143,720 million [€169.63 bn] last year). Online retailers in only three countries, UK, Germany and France accounted for 71% of European online sales. In 2008, online sales in Europe were £101,840 million (€117.84 bn).

Online retail sales in Germany were £38.18 billion (€45.07 billion), 9.0% of retail sales (+13% over 2010). In France, where online retailers grew at one of the fastest rates in Europe, 2011 online sales were £32.75 billion (€38.66 billion) or 7.3% of retail sales (+24% over 2010).


What's Happening in 2012?

We are, as usual cautious in our UK forecast. As last year, we expect a 14.0% increase in UK online sales to reach £57.39 billion (€67.74 billion) in 2012. This means that the UK online will have 13.2% of retail sales (last year was 12.0%). Last year's forecast of 12.0% was spot on. In 2012, online retail sales in Europe are forecast by CRR to grow by 16.1% (compared to 18.7% last year) to a new total of £197.19 billion (€232.76 billion).

We expect the rate of growth of online retailing in the UK and elsewhere in Europe to be slightly lower than 2011, reflecting the continued economic slowdown. But with European expected online retail growth of 16.1% this year, it is still a cracking pace.


US Online Sales

As the country that taught us all how to do online sales and once had annual sales growth of more than 25%, growth online in the US has diminished (see Figure below). Online retail sales in the US have a market share somewhere around 9%. Taking into account the different sizes of Europe and the U.S. online trade shares are about the same in both regions.


About Centre of Retail Search

The Centre for Retail Research provides authoritative and expert research and analysis of the retail and service sectors in Britain, Europe and globally. The Centre, originally a university research group, has been independent since 1997. Its Director is Professor Joshua Bamfield. It is totally independent and is not connected to any outside organisation or interest group.

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